Title: Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland
Author: Patrick Radden Keefe
Page Count: 445
Publishing Date/Publisher: 2019/Doubleday
Review: This was beautifully written and researched. Not being from Ireland, I’ve never had a full understanding of the Troubles and what happened during that time between the Catholics and the Protestants (or Republicans and Loyalists). It dives deep into the history of the IRA and their crimes and motives. It gives a human side to it, detailing the lives of the people involved and their trials, convictions, time in prison, all of that. It talks about how Gerry Adams went from the head of the IRA to the head of a political party and his time as a political prisoner.
It was a very fascinating book, and I recommend it to anyone interested in this part of Irish history.
Title: Famous Assassinations
Author: Sarah Herman
Page Count: N/A
Publishing Date/Publisher: Nov. 9th, 2018
Review: There have been a great number of assassinations in human history, and Sarah Herman describes a good deal of them. She separated them by time period and job type (royalty, president, dictator, etc.), taking us from the Roman Empire to Bin Laden.
Each main assassination is broken down into victim, assassination, assassin, and aftermath (or some amalgamation of the sort), making it a relatively quick read, as well as being very organised.
Herman writes very academically, while still being easily read by the public, which is a rare skill. I highly recommend this to anyone at all curious about the history of assassinations.
Title: The Lady in the Cellar
Author: Sinclair McKay
Page Count: Unknown
Publishing Date/Publisher: 30 October/ White Lion Publishing
Review: I really enjoyed this book. Sinclair McKay has an amazing writing style, bringing the historical mystery to life and giving enough background information without it feeling like you’re being bogged down with too much information.
The mystery is so engaging and kept me guessing the whole time, which is not something I can say about too many mysteries these days. They tend to be predictable and the twists and turns aren’t actual twists and turns. This one had me at the edge of my seat, so definitely no complaints there.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a good yet quick read.
Title: Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy
Author: Eamon Javers
Page Count: Unavailable
Publishing Date/Publisher: February 2010, Harper Business
Review: Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did since I don’t have much interest in economics or business practices, but I really loved reading it. Javers discusses the game of corporate spies by giving case studies and tells them like stories, which makes them very easy to read.
He also conducted many interviews with both active and no-longer active spies, which really helps add to his book. It adds a level of credibility. I also liked that he detailed the ways spies both follow people and how people can tell if they are the ones being followed.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it, even if you aren’t into economics or business (both things honestly go over my head and I was still able to understand what he was talking about).
Title: In the Name of the Children
Author: Jeffrey Rinek and Marilee Strong
Page Count: Unavailable
Publishing Date/Publisher: 17 July 2018, BenBella Books
Review: While it deals with a very difficult subject matter, this book is extremely well written. Rinek and Strong are natural story tellers, making you feel like you’re sitting down with them and just talking and listening to Rinek’s tales of the FBI.
I would give this 5 stars, but the topic gives me pause. It doesn’t feel right, considering it’s about kidnapped children. However, it’s so, so well written. I can’t stress that enough. Rinek expertly describes the processes he went through and the people he dealt with. He shows a lot of respect for his fellow law enforcement officers, stating that many of them became friends over the years, which makes sense; not many people go through what they go through and that forms bonds.
This book is clearly not for everyone, however, if you think you can handle it, I highly recommend giving it a try.
Title: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark
Author: Michelle McNamara
Page Count: 352
Publishing Date/Publisher: 1 Mar. 2018,Faber & Faber
Format: Print, hardcover
Review: This is a masterfully written book, and you can tell that a lot of hard work went into it, both by Michelle McNamara and by her two researchers who picked up the task after her untimely death.
Even though I grew up in the relative area of the crimes, I had never heard of the Golden State Killer prior to this year. Once the news came out about the arrest, I became interested in how someone that prolific could evade the police for so long. Thankfully, I was not alone in that; McNamara was obsessed with the case and trying to find out who the killer was. Amateur detective and novice writer, she wove an amazing tale not only of the crimes but of her own search for answers.
The book is compiled of articles she’s written previously and chapters she had mostly written before her death. Her researchers dutifully took up the task of finishing off the book, making footnotes where needed and marking where her work left off. It is a brilliant way to preserve her memory and I highly recommend reading it.
Title: The Fact of a Body
Author: Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
Page Count: 352
Publishing Date/Publisher: 3 May 2018, Pan
Format: Print, paperback
Review: This is a hard book to read but also so worthwhile. It’s not hard because of the author or anything like that; it’s hard because it’s based on the murder of a little boy and the author’s own past abuse. Marzano-Lesnevich weaves the two traumatic pasts masterfully, never focusing too much on one at a time. She details the reasons behind why she thinks Ricky Langley, pedophile and murderer, did what he did, while also coming to terms with what was done to her and the mess that leaves behind. She discusses her family and their reactions to what happened in their own home, their legal professions that led her into the same field, and the horrible loss they went through at a young age.
While reading the lead up to her own story, I knew what was about to happen to her and a surge of emotions came out. I almost couldn’t deal with it. Marzano-Lesnevich’s writing is so unique and engaging that I felt her anger and horror so acutely. I think it is important that I felt these things for her because this sort of thing happens so often and it’s horrific and disgusting and we need to do better to protect our children. Her telling her story and about the PTSD that came afterwards is incredibly brave, and we need to acknowledge this and try to stop it from happening again.
The same goes for Ricky Langley’s story. From the circumstances of his birth to his subsequent imprisonment, it is important to understand what led to his crimes.
This book is a very compelling, interesting tale of two separate people with commonalities woven into their lives. Marzano-Lesnevich’s debut work is intense, yet worth the read.